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Debian installer dropping network

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  • avia_tion_ca
    I ve followed the http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/install.html instructions to drop the debian installer image (di-nslu2.bin) on my new NSLU2. She boots,
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 4, 2007
      I've followed the http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/install.html
      instructions to drop the debian installer image (di-nslu2.bin) on my
      new NSLU2. She boots, and I can SSH in to access the installer.

      But there's only about a 2-5 minute window before the network adapter
      on the NSLU2 goes down.

      I've been able to SSH in during the window, and change "allow-hotplug
      eth0" to "auto eth0" (which, for some reason, isn't persistent across
      reboots of my NSLU2). But, even if I make the change, the network
      interface will still drop a minute or two later.

      I've even been able to connect, fix the interfaces file, load the
      USB/SCSI/EXT3 modules, and turn on 512MB of SWAP in the window -- but
      it still drops the network a minute or two later, and won't even
      respond to pings.

      I've tried re-flashing, but still no love. My (500GB WD SATA with USB
      chassis) disk already has some EXT3 partitions, and I've set up swap
      space on it, but I'll be damned if I can figure out why the network
      keeps dropping. It'll even drop a couple of minutes after reboot
      without me logging in at all!

      Have any of you seen something like this before? I gotta say, it's a
      little frustrating.

      If I got a USB Serial adapter, would the Debian installer recognize it
      and let me in that way? Or, is the USB Serial adapter something that
      can only be set up after install?

      I'm not a complete n00b, I've been running Linux on ARM for almost a
      decade now, and used to maintain RPMs for Netwinders a long time ago
      -- but after a long time of playing with far too many servers, the
      world has invented "USB," which is new to me, so I apologize for that.
      I gave away my last Netwinder a month or two ago, and have been
      running my home media servers as vmware instances until I can get the
      NSLU2 to work.

      Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      Thanks!

      Rob.
    • Gordon Farquharson
      Hi Rob ... You are probably using kernel version 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx (which is currently in etch). The version of the NPE drive in this version of the kernel had a
      Message 2 of 14 , Feb 4, 2007
        Hi Rob

        On 2/4/07, avia_tion_ca <avi@...> wrote:

        > Have any of you seen something like this before? I gotta say, it's a
        > little frustrating.

        You are probably using kernel version 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx (which is
        currently in etch). The version of the NPE drive in this version of
        the kernel had a bug in it which could cause the problems that you are
        seeing. 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx has a later version of the driver which fixes
        this problem.

        Try manually installing 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx by downloading the deb from

        http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/linux-image-2.6.18-4-ixp4xx

        and then using dpkg to install it, i.e.

        $ sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.18-4-ixp4xx_2.6.18.dfsg.1-9_arm.deb

        Gordon

        --
        Gordon Farquharson
      • avia_tion_ca
        ... I m using whatever kernel version is packaged in debian-etch-rc1-20061102.zip from http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/ -- I ll try to confirm from my NSLU2
        Message 3 of 14 , Feb 4, 2007
          > You are probably using kernel version 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx (which is
          > currently in etch). The version of the NPE drive in this version of
          > the kernel had a bug in it which could cause the problems that you
          > are seeing. 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx has a later version of the driver which
          > fixes this problem.

          I'm using whatever kernel version is packaged in
          debian-etch-rc1-20061102.zip from http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/
          -- I'll try to confirm from my NSLU2 tomorrow if that's 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx.

          > Try manually installing 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx by downloading the deb from
          > http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/linux-image-2.6.18-4-ixp4xx
          >
          > and then using dpkg to install it, i.e.
          >
          > $ sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.18-4-ixp4xx_2.6.18.dfsg.1-9_arm.deb

          Thanks! You've given me at least a decent next step to look for. Are
          you sure that I can install a deb while running inside the ramdisk of
          the debian installer? I haven't been able to make it far enough
          through the installation to have a functional host yet.

          The only way I can think of to get an updated kernel in there would be
          to build a Debian build environment on another machine, and rebuild my
          own Debian installer image. Or am I wrong, and .debs can be installed
          in the shell of the installer image?
        • Gordon Farquharson
          ... Ah ! Sorry, I didn t realize that you hadn t completed the installation. The RC1 version of the installer has 2.6.17-9-ixp4xx which uses the proprietary
          Message 4 of 14 , Feb 4, 2007
            On 2/4/07, avia_tion_ca <avi@...> wrote:

            > I'm using whatever kernel version is packaged in
            > debian-etch-rc1-20061102.zip from http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/
            > -- I'll try to confirm from my NSLU2 tomorrow if that's 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx.

            > Thanks! You've given me at least a decent next step to look for. Are
            > you sure that I can install a deb while running inside the ramdisk of
            > the debian installer? I haven't been able to make it far enough
            > through the installation to have a functional host yet.

            Ah ! Sorry, I didn't realize that you hadn't completed the
            installation. The RC1 version of the installer has 2.6.17-9-ixp4xx
            which uses the proprietary Intel NPE driver. This problem is odd
            because I don't remember hearing about a problem like the one you
            described when using the Intel driver.

            > The only way I can think of to get an updated kernel in there would be
            > to build a Debian build environment on another machine, and rebuild my
            > own Debian installer image. Or am I wrong, and .debs can be installed
            > in the shell of the installer image?

            You would have to rebuild an installer image and include the NPE
            microcode and the open source NPE driver in it. I have posted some
            preliminary instructions of how to do this on the wiki [1], but have
            not had the time to polish them. If you'd like, I can send you an
            installer image to try.

            Gordon

            [1] http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Debian/BuildImage

            --
            Gordon Farquharson
          • emm_is
            Gordon ... I tried this to see if it would solve a samba large file transfer problem however after reflashing the kernel the system did not come back up after
            Message 5 of 14 , Mar 1, 2007
              Gordon

              > Try manually installing 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx by downloading the deb from
              >
              > http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/linux-image-2.6.18-4-ixp4xx
              >
              > and then using dpkg to install it, i.e.
              >
              > $ sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.18-4-ixp4xx_2.6.18.dfsg.1-9_arm.deb

              I tried this to see if it would solve a samba large file transfer
              problem however after reflashing the kernel the system did not come
              back up after restart.

              My NSLU2 does seem to have a persistent problem of sometimes requiring
              two reflashes in order to get a reliable firmware image.

              So, is there a way to do a reflash after a kernel update if the system
              does not come back (transfer new kernel image from debian root device
              to remote system and upslug/sercomm) / where does one find the
              firmware that was flashed; or how does one back out of such a change
              if the new kernel has caused the problem?

              Thanks, Emm.
            • Gordon Farquharson
              ... Hmm, that is definitely not normal. I often reflash my development slug multiple times on a daily basis, and have never had to reflash it twice in a row to
              Message 6 of 14 , Mar 1, 2007
                On 3/1/07, emm_is <emm_is@...> wrote:

                > My NSLU2 does seem to have a persistent problem of sometimes requiring
                > two reflashes in order to get a reliable firmware image.

                Hmm, that is definitely not normal. I often reflash my development
                slug multiple times on a daily basis, and have never had to reflash it
                twice in a row to write an image. Odd.

                > So, is there a way to do a reflash after a kernel update if the system
                > does not come back (transfer new kernel image from debian root device
                > to remote system and upslug/sercomm) / where does one find the
                > firmware that was flashed; or how does one back out of such a change
                > if the new kernel has caused the problem?

                I'm not which version of the kernel you had previously :-) Depending
                on what you had installed when you did the manual upgrade using dpkg,
                you could have one of several problems.

                If you previously had installed Debian using the beta 2 installer, and
                had not upgraded since then, then you can roughly follow the procedure
                at http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/upgrade.html. I say roughly,
                because you won't be able to do the installation stuff with apt-get,
                but you can edit the configuration files by attaching your NSLU2 hard
                drive to another linux box. You will have to manually extract the
                NPE-B microcode from an existing installer image on slug-firmware.net
                by following the procedure at
                http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Debian/HomePage (section "Obtaining
                the NPE-B microcode").

                If your slug had the kernel supplied with the RC1 installer image
                (2.6.17-9-ixp4xx), and had not upgraded since then, then it is likely
                that you need to copy the NPE-B microcode to /lib/firmware on your
                NSLU2 hard drive to get network access with the 2.6.18-4-ixp kernel.
                This microcode is required for the open source NPE driver that exists
                with 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx. Again, you can get the NPE-B microcode using the
                procedure from the wiki.

                If you had the previous version of the 2.6.18 kernel
                (2.6.18-3-ixp4xx), then I suggest you use upslug2 to flash the image
                at http://cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/files/sda1-2.6.18-4.bin to your
                slug. Follow the normal upgrade procedure, i.e. put your slug in
                upgrade mode by holding down the reset button and turn your slug on;
                when the Ready/Status LED turns red, release the reset button; the
                Ready/Status LED should start flashing; on your host machine, run
                'upslug2 -i sda1-2.6.18-4.bin' as root. The image should start
                downloading to the slug. The procedure is described at
                http://www.cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/install.html#upgrade-mode. The
                image contains kernel version 2.6.18.dfsg.1-11 which is the current
                version in testing (2.6.18 + the fixed NPE driver recently migrated
                into testing). If the image works (it should), then do an 'apt-get
                upgrade' to update the kernel modules stored on the disk.

                I think that I have covered most of the possible scenarios.

                BTW, the way to backup you existing firmware image is described at
                http://nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Debian/FAQ. This image can then be
                transferred flashed back to the slug using upslug2.

                Let me know how it goes.

                Gordon


                --
                Gordon Farquharson
              • emm_is
                ... requiring ... Unfortunately on my box it seems to be the way it is. Thanks for your advice. Since I had just upgraded from a debootslug debian I
                Message 7 of 14 , Mar 2, 2007
                  --- In nslu2-linux@yahoogroups.com, "Gordon Farquharson"
                  <gordonfarquharson@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > On 3/1/07, emm_is <emm_is@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > My NSLU2 does seem to have a persistent problem of sometimes
                  requiring
                  > > two reflashes in order to get a reliable firmware image.
                  >
                  > Hmm, that is definitely not normal. I often reflash my development
                  > slug multiple times on a daily basis, and have never had to reflash it
                  > twice in a row to write an image. Odd.

                  Unfortunately on my box it seems to be the way it is.


                  Thanks for your advice. Since I had just upgraded from a debootslug
                  debian I reinstalled using a microcode added RC2 daily (took two
                  flashes...), worked fine.

                  The new install took me from 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx to 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx which
                  seems to have fixed the samba large file transfer failure problem (or
                  at least is seems ok for 2Gb).


                  According to the FAQ to copy the firmware one types:

                  cat mtdblock* > image

                  which has no path and so my system can't find it.

                  Thanks.
                • Gordon Farquharson
                  ... Great ! ... Yup, 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx contains version 0.3.1 of the NPE driver which fixes the networking problems that people were seeing. ... Thanks for
                  Message 8 of 14 , Mar 2, 2007
                    On 3/2/07, emm_is <emm_is@...> wrote:

                    > Thanks for your advice. Since I had just upgraded from a debootslug
                    > debian I reinstalled using a microcode added RC2 daily (took two
                    > flashes...), worked fine.

                    Great !

                    > The new install took me from 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx to 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx which
                    > seems to have fixed the samba large file transfer failure problem (or
                    > at least is seems ok for 2Gb).

                    Yup, 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx contains version 0.3.1 of the NPE driver which
                    fixes the networking problems that people were seeing.

                    > According to the FAQ to copy the firmware one types:
                    >
                    > cat mtdblock* > image

                    Thanks for pointing out that mistake out. I just fixed the answer on
                    the wiki. The correct command is 'cat /dev/mtdblock* > image'.

                    Gordon

                    --
                    Gordon Farquharson
                  • Victor Putz
                    This may only be tangentially related, but ever since I apt-get upgraded to 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx, I ve been unable to boot at all into the slug. I even had the
                    Message 9 of 14 , Mar 3, 2007
                      This may only be tangentially related, but ever since I apt-get upgraded to
                      2.6.18-3-ixp4xx, I've been unable to boot at all into the slug. I even had the
                      adventure of trying to manually install the files in the 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx deb
                      (manually unpacking it on my gentoo box and copying files over and then trying to
                      manually make an initrd using the slug's drive mounted onto my desktop) but to no
                      avail. The slug will boot, get to where the ready/status light is amber, and then
                      read actively from the drive for about 90 seconds, ostensibly going through part of
                      a
                      boot process, and then freeze. Now it's also started turning off its ethernet connection
                      light. I did flash with the 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx bin file mentioned earlier in this thread--
                      again to no avail. Since the debian installer is currently broken according to the
                      web page, I can't even reinstall. I'm completely flummoxed, and since the slug was my
                      mailserver as well as NAS and some other goodies, my home network has been pretty borked
                      for the past couple of weeks trying to get this working again.

                      Any suggestions at all? I'm sure my manually-created initrd is probably broken somewhere,
                      but I was desparate--and it's tough manually installing a .deb on an attached drive with
                      a different architecture and distro... I'm willing to do a full reinstall if it means
                      I get my slug back working with Debian.
                    • Gordon Farquharson
                      Hi Victor ... I presume you mean that tried http://cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/files/sda1-2.6.18-4.bin Which version of the kernel did you have before upgrading to
                      Message 10 of 14 , Mar 3, 2007
                        Hi Victor

                        On 3/3/07, Victor Putz <vputz@...> wrote:

                        > I did flash with the 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx bin file mentioned earlier in this
                        > thread--again to no avail.

                        I presume you mean that tried

                        http://cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/files/sda1-2.6.18-4.bin

                        Which version of the kernel did you have before upgrading to
                        2.6.18-3-ixp4xx and did you originally install from the beta2 or the
                        rc1 image ? Also, do you have NPE-B and NPE-B.01000201 in
                        /lib/firmware on your root partition ?

                        Gordon

                        --
                        Gordon Farquharson
                      • Gordon Farquharson
                        Hi Victor ... If you do decide to reinstall, here is a procedure for obtaining a working installer image: 1. Follow the instructions at
                        Message 11 of 14 , Mar 3, 2007
                          Hi Victor

                          On 3/3/07, Victor Putz <vputz@...> wrote:
                          > Since the debian installer is currently broken according to the
                          > web page, I can't even reinstall.

                          If you do decide to reinstall, here is a procedure for obtaining a
                          working installer image:

                          1. Follow the instructions at

                          http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Debian/HomePage

                          under "Obtaining the NPE-B microcode" to get a copy of the NPE-B
                          microcode if you don't have a copy, or copy the microcode from your
                          slug drive (/lib/firmware).

                          2. Download the current daily build of the official installer image from

                          http://people.debian.org/~kmuto/d-i/images/daily/ixp4xx/netboot/di-nslu2.bin

                          3. Add the microcode to the daily build image by using the script
                          right at the end of

                          http://www.nslu2-linux.org/wiki/Debian/BuildImage

                          (I think one doesn't need to do all the stuff in that script, but it
                          should work - I haven't tested it though.)

                          4. Update the wiki if you find errors ;-)

                          Let me know if run into any problems.

                          Gordon

                          --
                          Gordon Farquharson
                        • find_bernie
                          Are you certain that this is an issue with the installer? Have you tried running the beast for a while on the stock firmware, or on unslung? My only other
                          Message 12 of 14 , Mar 3, 2007
                            Are you certain that this is an issue with the installer?
                            Have you tried running the beast for a while on the stock firmware, or
                            on unslung?

                            My only other thought is to try another daily image.
                          • find_bernie
                            Apologies for my last post. I m new to this forum and haven t figured out where everything is yet. Thought that was a new post.
                            Message 13 of 14 , Mar 3, 2007
                              Apologies for my last post. I'm new to this forum and haven't figured
                              out where everything is yet. Thought that was a new post.
                            • Victor Putz
                              ... Yes, that s the one (and the accompanying deb) ... Good question and I don t honestly know how to answer it. I can say that I did install from an
                              Message 14 of 14 , Mar 3, 2007
                                > I presume you mean that tried
                                > http://cyrius.com/debian/nslu2/files/sda1-2.6.18-4.bin

                                Yes, that's the one (and the accompanying deb)

                                > which version of the kernel did you have before upgrading to
                                > 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx and did you originally install from the beta2 or the rc1
                                > image?

                                Good question and I don't honestly know how to answer it. I can say that
                                I did install from an installer and that the only kernels now in my
                                /boot directory are 2.6.18-3-ixp4xx and the (borked?) 2.6.18-4-ixp4xx, with
                                accompanying initrds.

                                > Also, do you have NPE-B and NPE-B.01000201 in
                                > /lib/firmware on your root partition?

                                Yep, I have both of those (NPE-B is a symlink to the other) dated 19/12/06.

                                Thanks--I appreciate the help.
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